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MAGIC BUS

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Magic Bus picture
Magic Bus biography
Formed in 2010 in Totnes, Devon, UK

MAGIC BUS are a band that freely admits that they think they are still producing music of the psychedelic era of the 1960s and early 1970s. Their sound definitely conjures up early psychedelic jazz of Canterbury Scene bands CARAVAN, SOFT MACHINE and STEVE HILLAGE though it also takes inspiration from the psychedelia coming from the West Coast of the USA in the late Sixties (specifically JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, THE GRATEFUL DEAD, CROSBY, STILLS & NASH).

The band features one time KULA SHAKER member and OASIS sideman, Jay DARLINGTON on vintage keyboards, singer-guitarist Paul EVANS, Terence Waldstradt on lead guitars, and Viv GOODWIN-DARKE on flute. In 2011 the band self-released their self-titled debut album and, in 2014, the follow-up,'Transmissions from 'Sogmore's Garden'.

::BrufordFreak::


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MAGIC BUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAGIC BUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 59 ratings
Magic Bus
2010
3.81 | 75 ratings
Transmission from Sogmore's Garden
2014
3.82 | 83 ratings
Phillip The Egg
2017
3.26 | 16 ratings
The Earth Years
2020

MAGIC BUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAGIC BUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAGIC BUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAGIC BUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Magic Bus / Milky Way
2011
4.04 | 6 ratings
Seven Wonders / Eight Miles High
2015

MAGIC BUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Phillip The Egg by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 83 ratings

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Phillip The Egg
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars This album doesn't have much singing which I must say is a positive. This album mixes the Magic Bus formula up a bit with more attention on instrumentals a decent amount of which have an edge to them which counterbalances the asinine vocals (their actually better on this album in my opinion).

Opening with a Caravan form two-songs-smushed-together song Mystical Mountain i Twelve Kings ii, Philip the Egg has a good beginning. The first part of the song features the bands signature vocals but without the excessive harmonies so it's somewhat pleasant. Then the song heads into an angular instrumental which is replaced by lone piano chords that are in turn replaced by crimsonesque buildup and pay off. There's even an organ solo towards the end, fabulous, no more sunshine and rainbows.

Fading Light is a chill jazz fusion track and it's good, comes in perfectly on the album, thumbs up.

Trail To Canaa is more in line with the previous albums by Magic Bus although the guitar/organ definitely go harder.

Zeta is a song I could do without due to somewhat annoying chanting.

Distant future is alright, I think everything this song says is done better on mystical mountain and Kepler 22b.

Kepler 22b is a delightful instrumental track with nice changes that manage to flow naturally yet abruptly.

Kalamazoo is a short spacy track around acoustic guitar.

Yantra Tunnels as the name suggests is an eastern sequence soundscape at least for the first half, the rest is aggressive rocking.

Overall this album is an improvement over the previous albums for me as it brings a darker edge that I would like to see expanded upon. 3.5/5

 Transmission from Sogmore's Garden by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.81 | 75 ratings

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Transmission from Sogmore's Garden
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars Get ready for a glass of sunshine, peace, love and good vibes~

So I'm just going to get this out of the way I hate the lyrics of Magic Bus and their singer has their own style of singing which unfortunately I despise as they sound like one singing while regurgitating ice cream. Additionally, the band indeed recalls the sound of pre Girls Who Grow? Caravan however, they also have a strong Psych pop influence so their music definitely puts a lot of focus on making songs. In simpler words this album is not very jazzy or avant garde.

Since others have already gone over the songs sound I'll just briefly go over the tracks so one can see my opinion on the components that make up this album.

Sunflower has a nice vocal harmony refrain, cute little opener. Ballad of lord sogmore opens nicely with a slight edge due to the organ and has some charming old times vocals. Cosmic rays of dawn is neat I like the vocals and there is wonderful medieval esque bridge. Three Days/Departure I somewhat dislike due to its chipper refrain. I like the instrumental that is departure so this track is okay. Jupiter 3Am mostly instrumental, it's a nice tune, could be bolder but still, I like it. Seven Wonders it's okay, kind of strikes as every song on the album blended into an average tune. Morning Mantra oh boy I hate this song. It consists of the most sickeningly syrupy lyrics I've ever heard. It isn't just the lyrics but the whole song that's just so happy. I'll be honest this song absolutely hurts the album for me, especially as it's one of the longer numbers. Earthpod is the most indie rock song on here, very chill acoustic led song. It's pleasant and ends the album well.

Overall I don't dislike this album but I don't like it largely due to the overwhelmingly positive lyrics and cheerful music. Canterbury Sound Score 4/5

 Magic Bus by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.90 | 59 ratings

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Magic Bus
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars Yeah, Magic Bus is a more psychedelic Caravan. The singer actually sounds a lot like early Richard Sinclair which is odd as Paul Evans (Magic Bus singer) has a unique voice which you hear on the follow up albums. Anyways the music is a mix of longer tracks and shorter songs, all of which place great focus on vocal harmonies and peace/love psychedelic pop singing. When they play instrumental sections they tend to be flute lead which are quite nice. The organ is present though seldom rises above a supporting role.

I think every review is based on one's personal opinion so when I call songs throw away that is just my opinion (duh). Anyways I don't like how happy the music tends to be. A lot of the short songs sound like (generally better) Caravans songs Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly) which I hate. Fortunately, Magic Bus has good moments like the instrumental work does not ramble and the vocals are undeniably pretty at points.

Track 1 is a solid song that starts with guitar solo then an interlude then guitar solo then nice vocals over acoustic guitar. The song just ends after the singing is done (all songs on the album are like that).

Track 2 opens with very 60s singing that sounds cheesy to me. This is only around half of the song as it soon becomes a good instrumental workout which evens the song out to acceptable.

Track 3 is a great song that opens with relaxed guitar strums that are joined by excellent melancholy inducing singing. Soon the song becomes upbeat to reintroduce the guitar chords, this time with a floating flute lead. The vocals then return, just as good as before. From there, a guitar solo rips over a good rhythmic backing until fading out in two minutes. This track I like although it could've used a better ending (not because it's a fade out but because the song sounds like another section would have gone great).

Track 4 starts with ukulele (?) arpeggios and cheerful lyrics/singing then becomes a cool instrumental we're the bass/organ briefly are at the forefront. Guitar then takes over for shortly then is cut off by an interlude. Following is an organ solo then flute solo then guitar solo then end. This track is nice, everything gets a turn.

Track 5 opens with tender acoustic guitar and flute then voice replaces the flute. It continues in this calm vein until ending with some ethnic percussion entering quietly at some point.

Track 6 starts with an intro then guitar solo then the intro rhythm plus singing (sounds exactly like Sinclair off Caravans debut on this one). After the corals comes a guitar solo with a bit of spacey synth happenings then the song ends.

Track 7 opens with vocals and calm background support, briefly song nice ah/lah. Then more singing (louder) then some good bass and good vocals in a different style (think more 70s then 60s). Sadly these are not for long as the louder vocals come back. Afterwards organ solos then quiet singing then the organ solo again but with different lead. The song then ends for two minutes then the last seconds are the opening of the next album.

Overall this album has good moments but to many are mediocre, ergo 3/5.

 The Earth Years by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.26 | 16 ratings

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The Earth Years
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars 1/3 Caravan 2/3 Gong

This album is a little different then the previous albums which have been quite similar. The focus is on shorter songs which are a tad sillier then before.

Most of the songs are Paul Evans singing in his unique inflection. The first half of the album is largely similar, happy harmonies introduced by their unpaired vocals and brief guitar solos.

On Barleycorn something a little different happens. The song opens with some lovely janky guitar work then goes into vocals accented by a tamboura supplying an eastern flavour.

Squirrel, the longest song clocking in at 7:01 obviously deviates as the other songs are all around four minutes. Opening with a short guitar intro, vocals quickly come (I believe this song is actually about a Squirrel). After the vocals comes a calm chanting section which is not excessive because the vocals are mixed not very loud and doesn't last long. When this is done some guitar chords provide a backing over which e piano solos. The ending to this song is gratifying instrumental work and something the rest of the album lacks.

The last song We Are One is back to the standard style of the album although it has a noticeable kick drum.

Overall this album is alright. It reminds me of old music like 1967-68. 3/5

 Phillip The Egg by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 83 ratings

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Phillip The Egg
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars MAGIC BUS remind me of GONG more than any other band minus the silliness. Kind of a Psychedelic, Folky style with some Canterbury flavours thrown in. I'm going to call this one their best although the one before it is right there too. A six piece band with vocals and maybe the funniest title for an album that I've seen in a while. Released in 2017 we get plenty of analog keyboards, really good guitar in many styles, upfront bass, drums and flute. The flute and sound bring THE SMELL OF INCENSE to mind as well. But is there mellotron on here? I thought I heard it on two songs but none is credited unlike that Norwegian band I just mentioned who like to swim in it.

Top three tracks include the opener "Mystical Mountain" and for 3 1/2 minutes we get a very Canterbury-like sound here especially the vocals. He reminds me of Richard Sinclair in his vocal style. After 3 1/2 minutes it turns experimental somewhat and Psychedelic. Check out the guitar 8 minutes in! "Trail To Canaa" is a Psychedelic/Folk styled tune with strummed and picked guitar, flute and organ. It's TULL-like 2 minutes in as they amp it up with flute. I like the multi-vocal melodies and determined sound that follows 3 minutes in. Organ is in along with the bass, guitar and drums. The guitar lights it up around the 4 minute mark. Last top three is "Kepler 22B" and this is where I thought I heard mellotron before 4 minutes. I know there's flute there. The guitar that follows is a highlight for me. I like the heaviness on this one.

A really strong album when it comes to the style they play in these modern times.

 The Earth Years by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.26 | 16 ratings

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The Earth Years
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Muskrat

3 stars Magic Bus has come a long way since its inception. The rhythm section (bass / drums) which tinkered with the first two albums was replaced from the "Philipp The Egg" album by a line that holds up. The result matures and goes wonderfully with keyboard, guitar and Paul Evans' delicate vocals. On "The Earth Years", Caravan's paternity is still present but as on the previous album, the influence of David Allen's Gong colors the songs. The pieces alternate between pastoral ballad à la Caravan (Setting Sun / We Are One), psychedelic parts (New Day), burlesque à la Gong (Easy Om, The Road To mesquita), or more adventurous (Bareley Corn). Note that contrary to what is announced in the line-up above, flutist Viv Goodwin Drake has left the formation. This absence is very regrettable, it added a touch of freshness to the whole and would have reinforced the album which does not reach the four *. In the end, an honest 3.5 * and an album recommended to fans of accessible Canterbury.
 Magic Bus by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.90 | 59 ratings

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Magic Bus
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Canterbury is back! Wonderful, wonderful fare from Devon's Paul Evans and friends. Nobody but nobody has so well captured the CARAVAN 1970-72 sound so well! And yet the songs are each pure and original (with a few borrowed riffs here and there). Excellent musical composition. Wonderfully quirky, hippyish lyrics and happy-go-lucky singing with outstanding contributions from guitars and flutes. Hailing from "transition town" Totnes, Devonshire, UK, Paul has gathered around him a dedicated crew of accomplished musicians who all have one thing in common: they feel that the spirit of the late 1960s and early 1970s--especially the musical spirit of the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene and the Canterbury spirit of SOFT MACHINE and CARAVAN--is still alive and that they are merely expressing themselves in that same spirit.

The album opens with the, "City of Sand" (7:26) (/15)

2. "Magic Bus" (4:51) (8.75/10)

3. "Gods of the Mountain" (7:06) with an awesome GRATEFUL DEAD/SANTANA/STEVEN STILLS-like extended guitar solo to close out the final two minutes. (13.25/15)

4. "Tucan Pyramid" (5:17) BEATLES and CARAVAN immediately come to mind here--mandolin, vocals, Throw in a little late 60s ROD ARGENT-like blues-psychedelia ("I'm a Man" organ) and Paul Kantner guitar and you have the makings of a classic duelling instrumental jam in the second half. (8.75/10)

5. "Holy Road" (4:58) flutes and gently picked multiple acoustic guitars, swooning multi-voiced harmonized vocals, and you have another 1960s classic. Could be THE BEATLES ("Blackbird"), INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, or the STARLAND VOCAL BAND. Gorgeous. (9/10)

6. "Milky Way" (7:06) is very much a piece that ably strings together a collage of happy-go-lucky hippy folk themes from the late 1960s and early 70s. God, this makes me nostalgic! Blasts into an electric rant of JETHRO TULL's "Living in the Past" in the second minute before coming back to centre. Then it moves off into another, more rocking tangent, before returning for some hippy psych vocals. Finishes with some JC Superstar-like themes. (8.75/10)

7. "Back to the Garden" (10:53) (/20)

 Magic Bus by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.90 | 59 ratings

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Magic Bus
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I had to track this one down after really enjoying their sophomore release "Transmission From Sogmore's Garden" and while I feel this is a step down from that one I still highly recommend this their self-titled debut. Love the cover art on this album by the way. Like the second album I thought of Canterbury with that distorted organ along with GONG and VIOLETA DE OUTONO.

"City Of Sand" opens with spacey atmosphere before a slow but catchy rhythm kicks in then the guitar starts to play over top before it kicks into a full sound with organ. Nice bass before 1 1/2 minutes then the song changes completely after 2 1/2 minutes as we get a calm with vocals and strummed guitar. It does build some with bass and drums but it's still laid back. I like his voice. Back to that catchy rhythm before 5 1/2 minutes then the vocals return.

"Magic Bus" is a song the kept getting stuck in my head this past week. We hear the sounds inside a bus before we get these CSNY-like vocals and harmonies that take over. Love the distorted organ, very Canterbury-like. What a feel good song this is when the vocals arrive along with the harmonies on the chorus. More distorted organ after 3 minutes followed by flute then guitar to the end.

"Gods Of The Mountain" is such a relaxed tune with almost spoken vocals to begin with. A slow beat, bass, keys and guitar in this slow moving start. It picks up after 2 minutes but then settles back with flute as the vocals step aside. It sounds like mellotron before 4 minutes followed by those almost spoken vocals. It picks up with flute then the guitar takes over. It becomes more passionate as well.

"Tucan Pyramid" opens with harp. Did I just say harp? Also relaxed vocals as harmonies and organ follow. It picks up 2 minutes in followed by distorted organ. It picks up even more then the guitar leads followed by organ as they continue to trade off. "Holy Road" is live and it does sound different as the sound quality isn't as good but it's fine. A folky tune with vocals and guitar leading the way.

"Milky Way" opens with nature sounds as this guitar melody arrives and rises in sound. GONG comes to mind with this song. Soon bass, flute and more join in but it's still mellow. It kicks into a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes. That guitar led melody from earlier is back and the vocals return as well. So good! Love the bass here too along with the flute. The tempo speeds up quite a bit surprisingly 5 1/2 minutes in but again check out the bass.

"Back To The Garden" is my favourite but the rest are all fairly consistent and well done so no top three this time. Birds can be heard in the intro as relaxed vocals and harp join in. Vocal melodies and organ follow then it kicks into gear before 2 minutes. Man this is amazing! Nice guitar 2 1/2 minutes in as the vocals step aside. Check out the bass 3 minutes in as the vocals return. Oh my! A nice instrumental section follows with organ before 4 1/2 minutes. A calm with vocals a minute later then it kicks back in again without vocals this time. Great tune!

Another solid album by these Brits and having heard they just released a new one, well I obviously need to track it down and get back on that hippy bus.

 Phillip The Egg by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 83 ratings

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Phillip The Egg
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars England's revivalists of the Bay Area psychedelia and Canterbury Scene have returned with another collection of one that flows and develops slowly in its complexity and dexterity over the course of the album. As a matter of fact, it seems to me upon repeated listens that the opening songs are fairly simple and pleasant and innocent while the trend progresses toward more expressions of anger and discord towards the end of the longer songs and the album itself.

I would have liked to hear more instrumental expressivity and complexity but am exceedingly happy for the input of this collection of songs that take me to a place that was much more innocent and carefree.

1. "Mystical Mountain" (8:50) a nice epic with simple Canterbury-lite (witty a la CARAVAN) approach to the vocal sections. The instrumental sections are more experimental but very subtly so. (8.5/10)

2. "Fading to Light" (3:36) absolutely gorgeous study in sound and space. I think the band are showing true signs of commitment to one another in diving deeply into their chemistry and technical proficiency. (10/10)

3. "Trail to Canada" (5:43) the first half is a bit innocuous but then a big shift and a rocking psychedelic second half lifts it up into memorability. (8.5/10)

4. "Zeta" (4:34) electronic psychedelia (reversed tracks) play from beginning before JEFFERSON AIRPLANE-like sound and structure establishes itself. The ethereal mid-section is interesting--perhaps a bit out of place. Nicely performed though there are a few sections that are a little drawn out with little or no development. (9/10)

5. "Distant Future" (7:11) is by far the most demanding both compositionally and of the listener--which is a good thing for this band. Discordant, edgie and syncopated, though still psychedelic--at least, until the fourth minute when a chorus temporarily gels it all together. The song returns briefly before going Fripp on us with some interesting lead guitar. I like the band's adventurousness here though it doesn't necessarily result in a beautiful or "shout about" song. (8.5/10)

6. "Kepler 226" (6:41) an instrumental that once again displays the band's cerebral commitment to technically complicated musics. (8.75/10)

7. "Kalamazoo" (3:30) a surprisingly sedate, more-acoustic-oriented approach to the band's sound. Nice but nothing extraordinary here. (8/10)

8. "Yantra Tunnels" (5:04) opens with harmonium and other Indian-sounding sounds. In the second minute Western instruments like drums and electric guitars enter and take over. This one rocks--like a good rockin' German Krautrock song from the 1970s. Even when it amps up a notch in the fourth minute it still (or even more) retains that Krautrock feel. (9/10)

4.5 stars; an excellent submission of psychedelic Canterbury-esque music. I predict that MAGIC BUS's next album is going to be a true masterpeice!

 Phillip The Egg by MAGIC BUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 83 ratings

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Phillip The Egg
Magic Bus Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Magic Bus have pretty strongly established their style in the two albums preceding new release Phillip the Egg, and they don't really deviate from it here - again, it's an intoxicated bland of Canterbury-esque whimsy (drawing largely on the warm humour of Caravan and the mystical interests of Gong) with West Coast hippy sensibilities, as well as tight jamming in the instrumental sections reminiscent of the overlap between Ozric Tentacles and You-era Gong. If that sounds like the sort of thing you'd enjoy, then you're in luck, because that's exactly what hatches out of this egg. If you've heard Magic Bus's preceding albums, you pretty much already know what to expect here and whether or not you'll like it.
Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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